ERIC Number: ED464794
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Hillbilly: An Image of a Culture.
The hillbilly stereotype has created image distortions of Appalachian people and culture in mainstream America, in academia, and among mountain people themselves. This paper examines Appalachian student reactions to the stereotype and ways in which students can explore the concept and image of hillbilly and develop their cultural identity. Appalachian people are a hybridization of various ethnic groups, including Native Americans, Africans, and Scotch-Irish. The culture is carried forward by oral tradition but is not static. Appalachian art forms and styles have followed local cultural transformations and vary widely. Stereotyping the culture began after the Civil War when outside developers entered the region, was a social control tactic, and was expanded and perpetuated by the mass media in the 1950s-60s. Psychological internalization of the pejorative image has hindered the ability of mountain people, particularly the young, to accept their identity, resulting in self-hatred, cultural denial, and lack of self-determination. The stereotype has also been internalized by education systems, which use it as an excuse for educational problems. As has happened in many Native American nations, reviving cultural traditions can facilitate healing. Students can confront the Appalachian stereotype by exploring the topic historically, aesthetically, and critically in their own place. Critical examination of the histories of Appalachian mountain culture, resistance, and artistic responses facilitates students' cultural identity, pride, and sense of place. Student projects for grades K-12 are listed. (Contains 17 references.) (SV)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Appalachian Culture; Appalachian People; Critical Pedagogy
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Women of Appalachia: Their Heritage and Accomplishments (2nd, Zanesville, OH, October 26-28, 2000).